Six questions Leeds United face over the international break

Leeds United have picked up just eight points in fourteen league game.
Leeds United have picked up just eight points in fourteen league game.
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Leeds United now face a short break until their next fixture on March 30 against Bolton Wanderers at Elland Road as international football takes centre stage.

Following Saturday's 2-1 defeat to Sheffield Wednesday the Whites are now officially the third worst football team in the country on current form since Boxing Day boasting just eight points from 14 games.

Paul Heckingbottom is under pressure at Elland Road to produce results.

Paul Heckingbottom is under pressure at Elland Road to produce results.

Here are six issues that Leeds face over the international break...

Confidence - where will it come from?

It's easier said that done but the Whites are a side playing without any confidence and it is plain for all to see.

Paul Heckingbottom will be hoping the break between now and the fixture against Bolton will allow him the opportunity to right some wrongs on the training ground.

Samuel Saiz is racing to be fit for Leeds' game against Bolton Wanderers.

Samuel Saiz is racing to be fit for Leeds' game against Bolton Wanderers.

Just how Leeds restore belief amongst a squad that has one victory this calendar year is a difficult question to answer but United need to find it from somewhere and quickly.

Would the real Samuel Saiz please stand up?

The Spaniard has been a bright spark in an otherwise dull and damning campaign for Leeds but there is no getting away from the fact that since he returned from his ban for spitting during Leeds' 2-1 FA Cup defeat at Newport County he has not produced the level consistently that many have come to expect.

The goals have dried up for Saiz too having notched five by the time the season reached the end of November but he hasn't bagged since United's 2-0 away victory at Barnsley on the 25th of that month.

Confidence has been an issue for the Whites since the New Year having won just once this calendar year.

Confidence has been an issue for the Whites since the New Year having won just once this calendar year.

Glimpses here and there of his quality have been on display with a fantastic run at Derby to play in Ezgian Alioski for the opener but too many poor performances have plagued the second half of his season.

The playmaker now faces a race against time to be fit for United's next game against Bolton after missing Saturday's Yorkshire derby defeat with a hamstring injury.

Is it time for 4-4-2? 4-3-3? Or just anything other than 4-2-3-1?

Since Paul Heckingbottom came to the club he has changed formation just twice from his predecessor Thomas Christiansen's trusted 4-2-3-1 formation. In his first game in charge he deployed a 4-3-3 line-up at Sheffield United before testing out a more traditional 4-4-2 at home against Bristol City.

It is fair to say a lot of criticism aimed at Christiansen before his departure was his lack of a 'plan b' and while things aren't exactly going to script for Heckingbottom he could be accused of the same thing.

The 40-year-old is under pressure to produce results at Elland Road and an insistence in playing one up front at home is a growing issue for the Whites faithful.

Should Adam Forshaw be made captain?

Since making the move from Middlesbrough in January the 26-year-old has been the most consistent performer for Heckingbottom.

Leading from the centre of midfield he has battled and grafted his way into thoughts for club captaincy and while current skipper Liam Cooper remains sidelined it may be time to give him the added responsibility.

United have been missing leaders this season and Forshaw, as many fans have suggested, might just be the answer to thrive in the role and give his team-mates around him that push that they need.

Where are the goals coming from?

Before the New Year goals were being fired in from all angles but in recent months the squad's contribution on a whole appears to have dried up.

The midfield area in particular has struggled to contribute as consistently as it was earlier in the season and it is no surprise that it has coincided with a loss of form.

Heckingbottom has opted to start Caleb Ekuban in the previous two games and with the striker struggling to find the net calls have been made for Lasogga to be given another run in the side.

With 10 goals in 19 games it is hard to argue against the German's inclusion.

Should more youth players be given a chance?

Bailey Peacock-Farrell and Tom Pearce have been handed chances by Heckingbottom in recent weeks and with the season over for the Whites the Leeds boss must be pondering whether to hand those in the Elland Road ranks more opportunities.

The Leeds boss admitted he would only hand chances to those who work for them but with growing pressure on the senior players in the squad, combined with the performances of Pearce and Peacock-Farrell, it might be time for those on the fringes to be afforded game time.

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